Visiting Ljubljana, Slovenia (Hometown Series)
Intro: Through the hometown series, we have traveled to big cities and small towns across the globe as travel bloggers share with us why their hometown should be on our bucket lists! We have explored the Australian city of Geelong, the castles and country houses of the Peak District, UK, the famous waterfall destination of Niagara Falls, Ontario, the small town of Russellville, Arkansas, Virginia Beach, Delhi in India, Cartagena in Columbia, Utrecht in the Netherlands, and my own small hometown of Herkimer, New York. Now we will travel back to Europe to discover great tips for visiting Ljubljana,Slovenia with Džangir from Dr Jam Travels.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, has the perfect location in central Europe. It is in close vicinity to many of Europe’s most well-known cities, including Zagreb and Trieste only an hour away, Venice two hours away, Vienna and Salzburg four hours away, and Munich, Budapest, and Milano five hours away.
The close proximity to so many great cities make it so you can easily arrive by car, train, or plane at the nearby international airport (20km) Jože Pučnik, aka Brnik. Aside from the many great cities nearby, you will also find the Adriatic coast or skiing slopes only an hour’s drive away.
When in this small city with less than 300,000 inhabitants you would need 1-2 days to explore its main features. And because it has a compact layout, you can do it all on foot!
Top Things to Do When Visiting Ljubljana, Slovenia
Explore the City Center
The city center is its Old Town that laid the foundation for the modern city. In the Middle Ages, Ljubljana was assembled by 3 squares, City Square and Old Square on the right side, and New Square on the left side of the River Ljubljanica.
In this pedestrian zone, you will be walking around narrow cobbled streets where you will find many buildings and churches built in the baroque period style, like a town hall, a cathedral, and the historic Robba fountain.
See the Triple Bridge & Riverbanks
While in this area you shouldn’t miss the architecture of the riverbanks designed by famous architect Jože Plečnik. The first riverbank ranges from Špica park, over Cobbler’s bridge, his masterpiece Triple bridge, Central market and finishes with gates on the river. Parallel to this riverbank is another going from his home to the city center with Trnovo bridge, an adaptation of the Križanke monastery into a concert venue, the monumental National & University Library, and over Vegova street to Zvezda (Star) Park. His work is now listed on the UNESCO list of world heritage.
Visit Ancient Ruins
For some of the best views in the city, visit the medieval Ljubljana Castle, sitting on Castle Hill and overlooking downtown Ljubljana. You can climb up the hill or take the funicular to the castle and enjoy a gorgeous view from the castle tower.
The Roman city of Emona was built 2,000 years ago and stood on the site of present-day Ljubljana, but many ruins can still be found around the city center, the biggest being part of a protective wall in Mirje.
Nearby there is a partially reconstructed Roman villa with mosaic, part of the Roman road in City Museum, north gate and statue of Emona in Zvezda Park. You will find the best examples of secession architecture in Miklošič square and Prešeren square (the main meeting spot in the city).
If you would like to retreat from the concrete to green and peaceful surroundings you should move to nearby Tivoli Park. If you have a bit more energy you could climb Rožnik hill behind the park, visit the Zoo on that hill, or stop by Koseze Pond at its foothill.
Visit City Museum
For those that love museums the best option to get a grasp of the city’s history would be the City Museum.
Try Your Hand at an Escape Room
In case of bad weather, you should try one of the many escape rooms you can find in the city. This will take you up to one hour to solve and it will be lots of fun for those that enjoy solving mysteries.
Go On a Scavenger Hunt in the “City of Dragons”
Also, you can try to track Ljubljana’s symbol-the dragon. Dragons are woven into the fabric of this city, from Dragon bridge, fresco in castle chapel where St George slays the dragon, many iron dragons made by smith from Kropa, part of local brewery brand, and as a mascot for local basketball and football fans.
Where to Eat When Visiting Ljubljana, Slovenia
Because the city is located on the crossroads between the east and west, north and south of Europe you will find many different influences on cuisine. Traditional dishes in Ljubljana would be close to those in German-speaking countries. One should try here the beef soup, one of the sausages (krvavica, pečenica, and kranjanska) accompanied with some sauteed potatoes, sauerkraut, and sour beets. Finish with some dessert of apple strudel or gibanica.
Don’t forget to drink some great local wines (teran, refosco, rebula, malvasia…) or schnaps. You could find this kind of food at Sokol or Gjužina restaurants. From April until October every Friday there is an Odprta Kuhna food market where you can try some local and international street food. If you are looking for a typical fast-food snack that would be burek. The best one you will find is at the Nobel venue on Miklošičeva street.
If you are into fine dining and you are prepared to extend your budget, you should try Strelec at Castle Hill.
Where to Stay When Visiting Ljubljana, Slovenia
For accommodations you will find a big variety of options. You can stay at 5-star luxury Intercontinental hotel, choose an affordable hostel option, or anything between those two extremes.
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